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Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE32), by Max Müller, [1891], at

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To the Maruts (the Storm-gods).

1. Sing to the company (of the Maruts), growing up together, the strong among the divine host 1: they stir heaven and earth by their might, they mount up to the firmament from the abyss of Nirriti 2.

2. Even your birth 1 was with fire and fury, O Maruts! You, terrible, wrathful, never tiring! You who stand forth with might and strength; every one who sees the sun 2, fears at your coming.

3. Grant mighty strength to our lords, if the Maruts are pleased with our praise. As a trodden path furthers a man, may they further us; help us with your brilliant favours.

4. Favoured by you, O Maruts, a wise man wins a hundred, favoured by you a strong racer wins a thousand, favoured by you a king also kills his enemy: may that gift of yours prevail, O ye shakers.

5. I invite these bounteous sons of Rudra 1, will these Maruts turn again to us? Whatever they hated secretly or openly, that sin we pray the swift ones to forgive.

6. This praise of our lords has been spoken: may the Maruts be pleased with this hymn. Keep far from us, O strong ones, all hatred, protect us always with your favours!

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Ascribed to Vasishtha. None of its verses occurs in SV., VS., AV., TS., TB., MS. Metre, Trishtubh.

Verse 1.

Note 1. Dhâman is one of the cruces of translators, and it remains so after all that has been written on the subject by Bergaigne, III, 210 seq. There are many words in the Veda which it is simply impossible to translate, because their meaning has not yet been differentiated, and they convey such general or rather vague concepts that it is utterly impossible to match them in our modern languages. Translators are often blamed that they do not always render the same Vedic by the same English word. It would be simply impossible to do so, because, according to the different surroundings in which it occurs, the same word receives different shades of meaning which in English can only be approximately expressed by different words. Bergaigne is, no doubt, right when he says that dhâ-man is derived from dhâ, to set or settle, and that it therefore meant at first what is settled. From this he proceeds to argue that the original meaning of dhâman, from which all others are derived, is law. But law is a very late and very abstract word, and we must never forget that words always progress from the concrete to the abstract, from the material to the spiritual, and but seldom, and at a much later time, in an opposite direction. Now even if we were to admit that dhâman does not occur in the Veda in the sense of settlement, i. e. abode, this is certainly its most general meaning afterwards, and no one would maintain that a settlement, i. e. a household, was called dhâman, because it involved a settlement, i. e. laws. The same applies to vratá. Bergaigne (III, 213) agrees with me that vrata should be derived from var, to surround, to guard, and not from var, to choose, but he thinks that it meant at once 'garde, protection,'

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and not 'lieu clos.' I still hold that like νομός, vrata must have meant first a real hedge, or ἕρκος, and then only an abstract enclosure, i. e. a law, νόμος. In this case we can see the actual transition of thought. People would begin by saying, 'there is a fence here against your cattle,' and this would in time assume the meaning 'there is a defence against your cattle straying on my meadow.' But it would be impossible to begin, as Bergaigne (p. 216) does, with the abstract meaning of protection, law, and then return and use the word in such phrases as V, 46, 7. apâ´m vraté, 'within the pale of the waters.'

Dhâman, therefore, meant originally, I still believe, what was actually laid down or settled, hence an abode. When, as in the Veda, it means law, I do not say that this was necessarily derived from the meaning of abode. I only maintain that it was a second, if not a secondary, meaning, and that, at all events, the meaning of abode cannot be derived from that of law.

After dhâman meant what is settled, it has sometimes to be translated by law, by nature, sometimes by class, or clan, where it comes very near to nâman, name, while sometimes it may best be rendered by a general and abstract suffix, or even by a plural. Thus in our passage, daívyasya dhâ´mnah is not very different from devânâm.

What is peculiar to our passage is the genitive governed by tuvishmân. After all the learning which Bergaigne has expended on the analysis of dhâman, he does not help us to a translation of our sentence. If we translate 'of the divine law, powerful,' we have words, but no sense. I take daívyasya dhâ´mnah as a genitivus partitivus, such as AV. IV, 37, 5. óshadhînâm vîrúdhâm vîryẫvati:. See Kuhn, Zeitschrift XIII, 120; Siecke, Genitivus, p. 14. Grassmann: 'Die mächtig walten in der Götter Wohnsitz.' Ludwig: 'Die von göttlicher natur, die starke.' He denies that tuvishmân could be followed by the genitive. I do not maintain that I am satisfied on that point. All I say in this as in many other cases is that my translation gives something which we can understand. Let others give us something better.

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Note 2. On Nirriti, see Hibbert Lectures, p. 245; Lect. Science of Lang., vol. ii, p. 562. Avamsá, literally without beams of support, or bottomless.

Verse 2.

Note 1. On ganûs, see Lanman, p. 571.

Note 2. Svardk, according to Grassmann, der lichte Himmel; according to Ludwig, jeder der das licht schaut. Sâyana, among other meanings, gives that of tree. See VII, 83, 2.

Verse 3.

On the construction of this verse, see Delbrück, Syntax p. 384, and Bergaigne, Mélanges Renier, p. 82.

Verse 5.

Note 1. With regard to tâ´n mîlhúshah rudrásya, 'these bounteous (sons) of Rudra,' see VIII, 20, 3.

Next: VII, 59. To the Maruts and Rudra